Now as it turns out, happiness like most things in life is completely subjective. For some of us it is sitting in with a pizza, a bottle of wine and Netflix and for others it is doing a bungie jump from a helicopter.
There is however some standard definitions out there for being happy, such as this one provided by the Oxford English Dictionary: “Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment”
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HAPPINESS
So this is great, but we can actually get a bit deeper into what this means? For example, Positive Psychology point out that:
Happiness is a state, not a trait; in other words, it isn’t a long-lasting, permanent feature or personality trait, but a more fleeting, changeable state.
Happiness is equated with feeling pleasure or contentment, meaning that happiness is not to be confused with joy, ecstasy, bliss, or other more intense feelings.
Happiness can be either feeling or showing, meaning that happiness is not necessarily an internal or external experience, but can be both.
There are many theories and findings on happiness, but they all boil down to a few common factors that are important such as:
- Physical Health
- Social Relationships
WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY?
Here are 5 simple steps that you can take today which can help you on your journey towards happiness.
Even moderate exercise releases chemicals in your brain that lift your mood. It can help you sleep better, provide you with more energy and it keeps your heart healthy. Choose an exercise that you enjoy. If it helps, do it with a friend or listen to music while exercising. Joining a local HITZone studio allows you to exercise in short 25-minute sessions in a small group session with expert coaches. Adults should aim for 150 minutes a week which can include simple exercise such as walking.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Around 7 to 8 hours is the average amount of sleep an adult needs for their body and mind to fully rest. Writing a “to do” list for the next day before bed can organise your thoughts and clear your mind of any distractions. Drinking less caffeine, especially in the evening can also aid sleep.
3. Be Grateful
This is a truly amazing technique to increase your happiness and there are a number of different strategies which you can use to add this into your daily routine. Some people keep a journal and write 10 things every day which they are grateful for. Another is to set an alarm for a set time each day reminding you to be grateful, and you just need to take out 30seconds and count your blessings – your health, your family, the fact that you could pay your bills this month or that you got yourself to do some exercise. It can be anything big or small, but the key is to FEEL grateful. Take a moment and try it now, the effects are immediate.
4. Help People
Humans have an inbuilt desire to help and care for others. Helping other people is not only good for them, it helps us too by making us feel happier!
5. Be Present
In today’s world of 24-hour news cycles and a never-ending selection of social media channels and TV streaming services we are all distracted all of the time. But there is more to life than this constant bombardment of information. Stop and take notice of the world around you. Being more aware and more mindful is good for our wellbeing and stops us worrying about the past (depression) and future (anxiety). So, stay in the present – it’s a gift.
Being happy is not limited to just these 5 areas of life, there are an infinite number of ways to be happy. However these are all effective and simple way to begin your on your journey towards happiness – start now 🙂